Malawi church petrol-bombed

A Roman Catholic church priest said the blast took place during a morning service attended by hundreds. A young man attending the service set fire to petrol he had concealed in a plastic bag, eyewitnesses said.

Catholic radio station head Father Gabriel Jana said he had no idea why anyone would want to attack the church: “This guy just entered the church with a five-litre jerry can of petrol and set it alight; nobody knows why,” he said, adding that one person who sat next to the bomber had severe burns and was currently in the intensive care unit at the city’s Kamuzu Central Hospital.

Another man, who was trampled during the stampede, is also in hospital.

Father Jana said the congregation managed to put out the fire before it spread too far: “It’s too early to assess the damage,” he said.

The unknown assailant reportedly ran off and escaped after the explosion.

Police spokesman Willie Mwaluka told AFP news agency: “We have intensified our investigations to establish whatever happened.”

The Catholic Church in Malawi is the largest single religious denomination, accounting for almost half of the country’s 12 million population. ‘ AFP.

July 2006
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